Tuesday, July 7

Review: Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Usually I do my buddy reviews with Nath - I'm too shy to go out and solicit reviews from other bloggers (hint hint LOL). But new blogger Monroe, from Monroe with a Twist, is such a sweetheart that I just had to ask her to do a buddy review with me. We decided to read and review Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas. Also, this is Monroe's first buddy review ever. Thanks sweetie!

As always, our review reads more like a discussion and so there are spoilers. You've been warned.
He answers to no one...

No one has ever truly touched Jack Travis's heart or soul...until Ella Varner comes along. She appears one day on his doorstep with fury in her eyes and a baby in her arms. Her troubled sister is the mother and, according to Ella, Jack Travis is the father. But when Ella demands that Jack take responsibility for the first time in his life, he ends up taking much more than that...

She trusts no one...

Ella Varner is responsible and controlled. Her childhood taught her that love is fleeting and best avoided. That is, until baby Luke appears on her doorstep after her reckless sister, Tara, abandons him. What Luke needs now is stability, and Ella's determined to do what is best for him. As her bond with the helpless child grows stronger every day, Ella goes to Houston in search of the father. What she finds there will change her life forever...

And when things heat up between these two, the time for talking is long gone...

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: 3rd in the Travis family series

All right - let's get to it!

Ames: I liked Smooth Talking Stranger. It's been a while since I've read an LK contemporary and I've forgotten how she reels you into the story. So much so, I got a little teary eyed at the end.

And you?

Monroe: Well as you know I've been reading these books pretty much back to back and none of them have fallen short of my expectations. I love LK's way of making you feel like you’re really there in the story. And she truly does make you sympathize with the characters. I LOVED this ending so much and I think Jack ended up being my favorite out of all the heroes in this series.

Ames: Jack is definitely my favorite hero too! Although I would have liked a bit more internal dialog from his point of view when he first meets Ella and then later decides to pursue her. Because why would he go out on a date with that super model type chick and then come back to Ella and put the moves on her?

Monroe: Ohh good point. Ya we didn't get too much into his head. And when Ella saw him with her I was fuming! And I just loved how that model didn't think Ella was a threat to her beauty! HA! THANK GOD he got rid of her.

Ames: Yes - but what was the turning point for him? I would have liked a bit more from his point of view in that regard.

But once he does start going after Ella? Hot stuff! He's so sexy and he's exactly the kind of hero I like. Like totally alpha but not too domineering.

Monroe: Ya and I liked that he didn't really go in-between his feelings much. He stayed VERY persistent when courting her! I do love a man who knows what he wants and knows how to get it! ;o)

Ames: Exactly!

As for Ella, I really liked her character. I understood the attitude she had towards marriage and how her childhood really affected her adult relationships. She was smart and loyal - too loyal though. Her boyfriend Dane was such an ass!

Monroe: Oh sheesh! Ya he was such a moron. Open relationship...ok if he wanted that it seems he would've talked to her about it beforehand! But I will say I loved how they ended their relationship. There were really no hard feelings, although that would never happen in real life! Lol And boy was her childhood so relatable! I loved how LK showed a different kind of abuse in the story. Yes there was some physical with her sister and mother's boyfriend but the main abuse that was brought up was all mental and that's something that hard to translate into a book. It comes with a lot of emotion and LK RULES the emotion department.

Ames: Yes she does! I really felt for the two young sisters and their mother, awful! There's a narcissist for you.

As for her open relationship Dane should not have assumed that their relationship was open unless they had discussed it. Because Ella was caught off guard with that conversation, you could tell. And as for how it ended, it was very calm and "adult" and yeah, I doubt things can end that well in real life. (If so, what does that say about the kind of relationships we've had? haha) But the way it ended, it shows how un-invested Ella was in her relationship with her guy so we don't feel so bad about her hooking up with Jack. And what a hook up! I thought that scene in the parking garage was hot stuff. LOL

Monroe: Ya heat is one thing her books are never lacking! And what's great is in that heat is also tenderness. Like for example when Ella, Jack and Lukeall go on his pocket yacht...after laying Luke down for his nap Jack pulled Ella into the bedroom of the ship and told her she could have
whatever she wanted and her response was that all she wanted him(sweet). Then he proceeded to pin her wrist down to the mattress and make sexy lovin' to her (hot) then they talked about how they were going to try to have a traditional relationship together UNLIKE what she had with Dane. Such a good mix of my fav L's - Lust and Love! Lol

And what did you think about the boating accident? Ok call me blind but I totally didn't see it coming! I guess I was just so caught up in Ella having to give up Luke it didn't even cross my mind that something was wrong with Jack! So that was a surprise to me!

Ames: Oh yeah, that boating accident totally caught me off guard!! I remember someone too at one point telling me something about someone dying so here I was all worried for Joe. LOL Luckily, no one dies. Then we found out it was an explosion I thought maybe Ella's sister's lover tampered with the engine so that he wouldn't have to support Ella's sister via legal agreement. And then in the end it was none of those things. haha

And the reveal as to who the baby's father was? I saw that one coming. I knew it wasn't who Ella thought it was. That it was the other guy. Her sister kind of annoyed me at the end when she was all "I'm going to be with him" blah blah blah. We all know how that turns out.

But the story was about Ella and Jack and I thought it was a sweet story. I'm not a big fan of babies in my romances and I totally didn't mind Luke. Actually, that's what had me teary eyed at the end, when Ella gets her complete HEA.

Monroe: Oh ya I totally saw the true father when she first went to the church. I don't mind babies as long as they aren't mine! Lol I like babies in stories and Luke was great! I loved how Jack was with Luke. So loving and gentle! And the sister...how selfish of her! Who wants to be the "other woman". He won’t ever leave his wife...did you hear her..."after a few years when the kids are grown he will leave"...YEARS?!?! Whatever!

Ella SO deserved her HEA! I would not have been satisfied with her
only being the "favorite aunt" to Luke. Now her little family is complete! (OH and I SO wanted her to get pregnant at the end lol)

Ames: Ok, I say I don't like babies in my romance, but I totally melt for heroes who are nice to kids at the same time! LOL I'm so contradictory. But yeah, it just shows how the hero is a great guy.

Her sister was totally selfish. I don't really feel like things were completely resolved for her sister. But again, glad that her sister didn't get more page time. And her mom? Coming onto Jack? That's sick!!

Monroe: Oh I totally forgot to bring up her mother! What a hussy! And to get with her boyfriend when she was in high school?!?! OMG! THEN for her to come after poor Jack. Well I say poor but honestly if anyone could handle this intolerable cougar it's him! And how sweet is it that he didn't want to let Ella know it happened. In fact I loved when he knew her mother was coming and he snatched up Luke when she tried to make him leave. Like he was holding Luke as leverage! lol

Ames: I loved how Jack handled her mom. And the whole thing at the end saying if she keeps Ella happy for 6 whole months he'll buy her a car? haha!!

Monroe: Oh and I don't think this review would be complete if we didn't bring up the proposal...*sigh. It was absolutely sweet how he wrote to her like one of her readers (which btw those snippets of letters were too cute, and Ella was one smart cookie when answering). And how the ring was in her cup! Epp! Loved it! And when she walked back into the room with the
ring on...how he was relieved! :*)

Ames: Ooh, that was a cute proposal. Seriously, everything Jack did was just perfect for me. Even his jealousy and possessiveness were spot on.

Monroe: Oh ya he wasn't like creepy/jerk possessive it was more like "mine" (he even said those words to her hehe) and "let me take care of you". As apposed to Dane who couldn't even man up enough to help her with Luke. I mean she talked about visiting and he said he's stay somewhere else! MEN!

Ames: Oh Dane was so UGH. There's no other way to put it. I thought it was cute that Jack got jealous when Dane stayed the night too. LOL

Monroe: Ooooo...I know what you mean and when he said he wasn't going to stand back and let him takes what's "his"!!! I was like "that's right suckaaa!" lol

Ames: Yeppers, Jack totally made this book for me.

But Ella held her own and that's what I like in my heroines.

Monroe: Ya I loved her! Oh and when he made her eat steak! Lol Too funny!

Ames: Oh yeah that's another thing - with Dane, Ella was totally a doormat. But with Jack she was all feisty.

Here’s an example:

“Unbelievable,” I said in disgust.
“What’s unbelievable?”
“Your ego. It’s surrounded by its own cloud of antimatter. You’re a black hole of…of hubris!”
Jack stared at me through the shadows, and then he averted his face, and I thought I saw the white flash of a grin.
“Are you amused?” I demanded. “What the hell is so funny?”
“I was just thinking if the sex with you is one-tenth as fun as arguing with you, I’ll be one happy bastard.”
“You’ll never find out. You—“
He kissed me.

Monroe: Ya it was like she wasn't afraid to hold back. And she didn't! lol

Ames: True, true.

All right then, in the end I really enjoyed Smooth Talking Stranger and it was a B+ for me. :P

Monroe: Hmmm...honestly I would give it 5 stars on my blog so A then? (Im way too sweet on LK ;op)

Ames: Okay, at this point on Monroe's blog, she likes to include a little snippet of the book that she really enjoyed. So since she liked when Jack got possessive, here's the perfect snippet to reflect that:
He turned me around to face him. "Beautiful," he whispered. His hands went lower, following the clingy knit of my dress. His expression was intent, his lashes half-lowered until jagged shadows scored down his lean cheeks. And he breathed another word so softly I almost didn't hear it. "Mine."

Mesmerized, I stared into those dark eyes and shook my head slowly.

"Yes," Jack said, and he brought his mouth to mine.

Monroe: Ooh i just got shivers!


nath said...

Great review ladies!! :) Very enjoyable!! I got to agree with Ames, I wish we'd have seen more of Jack POV. I think it would have made the book more balanced.

Dane was a jerk. Seriously, the only reason why a man would want an open relationship is because he's not ready to commit.

Hmmm, Ella annoyed me a little. Like the way she would go after each man she thought could have father the baby. I mean, seriously? Don't you find it embarrassing to go after a man, accusing him of having fathered a baby... when he actually never slept with your sister? Ugh.

The mom, OMG!!! Bragging about her coochie?!?! ^_^; The sister annoyed me a lot too... not my kind of persons, but then, given the past, I can understand why she would treasure money and wouldn't care being the third-wheel and not being able to publicly be with the man she "loves."

I gave this one a B. I can see how people could really love it, for me though, it just fell flat a little. Thing is, I love this kind of story, two people getting together because of a baby :) and Luke was cute and I liked how Ella found a maternal side of her.

Rowena said...

Great review/discussion sweetlings! =) Jack is my very favoritest Travis/hero in this series and I think I heard somewhere that LK is NOT going to write Joe's story and that makes me sad because I want to read his story dammit!

That last scene you posted Ames, *sigh* I want that!

Monroe Dawson said...

Like Ames said this was my very first Buddy Review and it was great! I loved this nook to pieces and its always nice to share that book lovin' with a friend! Thanks Ames and Breezing Through yall are totally awesome! :o0

Cecile said...

Wow ladies, what a great review. I have not read this book yet... but I am gathering from your review... I am going to put this on my list of TBB!!! Oh sorry... by the way, I am a follower of Monroe's!! Hope you don't mind the tag-a-long!!!
Great job ladies!! I did love this form of buddy review!!

If you see anything that interest at my sight that you are wanting for a review... just email me!! hint hint... lol!!!
Monroe ~ Great job with your first buddy review!!!!

Monroe Dawson said...

Thanks Cecile my sweet! :o)

~ames~ said...

Nath - Ella didn't know that Jack hadn't slept with her sister. Also, I think it's part of Ella's character for her to go after someone and try and get them to do the right thing, because she's always helping her sister out of jams, which is the right thing to do.

Wena - Travis is definitely the best hero out of these books. That's too bad we're not going to get Joe's story. But he does have a little bit of growing up to do still.

Cecille - Hey sweetie! Thanks for stopping by. And I think you're in for a pleasant surprise if you buy this book. And by a quick glance at your blog, I can see we have a lot in common. I'll take you up on that offer. LOL

nath said...

Ames, well exactly, that's my point. She doesn't know whether Travis didn't sleep with her sister. All she has to go is the saying of her cousin, which hello, not the most reliable source. She goes half-cocked after each man because she *thinks* he did. I just don't like that attitude, especially when it's proven that she was wrong twice and she didn't believe Travis when he explained thing. I know she was emotionally abused by her mother, but still... it doesn't excuse her behavior.

The right thing to do was take care of Luke, wait till she found her sister and got the story out of her and then, deal with it.

I don't know it just put me off.

Kristie (J) said...

For me, this one was the weakest of the three - but I still give it a thumbs up and a B grade. And I will most certainly continue to read (and love) her contemporaries (and her historicals)

Kris said...

Great review!! Have not read this one yet, but i will put it on my list, thanks :)

Hilcia said...

Great review! I also really liked this book and Jack!!! It was a B+ read for me. I also found Ella a bit annoying, though not enough to spoil the book. Overall I thought it a good addition to the series. :)